Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

First Contact

Posted on July 29, 2011


Hey, you guys, if aliens land on Earth, can I call dibs on being their first contact? Sure, I bet scientists and politicians would scramble to be first in line, but I think I could do a better job, and I'll tell you why.

One, I wouldn't make it such a big deal. My guess is that aliens would be weirded out by a lot of pomp and circumstance. Instead of flags and fancy handshakes and junk, I'd be all like, "Hey, dudes, pop a squat on that ottoman. I'll go grab us some cold ones." And, I bet the aliens would be like, "Awesome, yeah. This guy's got a cool apartment. Look at that dope Pearl Jam poster."

Two, I wouldn't be all up their asses about advanced technology. You send a scientist in as first contact, and he'd be like, "Spaceship spaceship spaceship!" Yeah, I mean, we'd get to that stuff eventually, but you gotta ease into it. I'd be like, "So, what are you guys into? Music? Or just chilling out? Cool. Cool. So, like, does your spaceship run on crazy powerful crystals or something? Do you have any extra of those?"

And, then we’d get to live on a world where everything’s run on crystals and everybody has Segways and stuff. Y’know why? Because I wouldn’t be pushy about it.

Where are we at? Three?

Three, if shit goes down, I know how to handle myself. Like, say these alien dudes are interested in world domination and kidnapping folks for butt probing.

See, if the military were there, they be all like, "LAUNCH THE NUKES!" at even the first sign of lasers or anal probers. Whoa whoa whoa, there's no need for nukes. My buddy, Herc, tries this kinda shit all the time, so I have experience in these areas. (Totally true. Whenever Herc gets wasted, he always grabs dudes and tries sticking his finger up the backs of their shorts. He’s laughing when he does it, but I think there’s something else there, too.)

But, instead of needing the military, I could just be like, "I got this," and whip out some kung fu shit. Just go total Roadhouse on those aliens. I'd be like, "POW CHOP PA-POW, WHAMMO!" And, they be all, "Oww, oooh, ugh! My big, gray head!"

Ask Tommy. He's seen me do it to a guy once who was messing with a girl at the Quik Trip.

Then, when the aliens are sitting on the curb, rubbing their sore heads or whatever, I'd hand them a cold brew, and I'd be like, " Sorry I had to put you guys in your place. But, you get that you pulled a dick move, right? Are we cool?"

And, they’d be like, “Yeah. Sorry we tried to invade you guys. We learned our lesson.”

Part four... Uh, okay, so everything so far has assumed these aliens were the little gray dudes who may or may not be into planetary conquering and/or butt science. Instead, if these aliens are the sexy green lady kind of aliens, I also call dibs on first contact.

For that I’m gonna need some supplies---candles, chocolate-covered cherries, maybe some scented oils from Spencer’s Gifts. I’m kinda low on cash right now, so do you think the U.N. Nations would chip in to buy those things? They’re in charge of UFO landing stuff, right?

Can you do me a solid and call and ask them? I don’t really know anybody at the U.N. Nations, and I think it’d be weird if I just called them up asking for money for sex stuff. Anyway, let me know if you hear back from them.

I’m really excited about this first contact stuff. I think it’s gonna turn out really great.


Tipsy with Power

Posted on July 28, 2011

I wouldn't say I'm drunk with power. No, I'm not drunk with power. A little tipsy with power, yes. But not drunk.

I don't have enough power to be drunk with power. Believe me, I know my limit. It takes at least two or three times this amount of responsibility and say-so for me to go on a full-on power bender. But, sure, I've got a power buzz going. I'm feeling pretty good right now. Feeling good.

Like, for instance, I would not make you hand me your stapler and then throw it away just to prove that I could. I wouldn't do that. I might borrow your stapler and “forget” to return it. I can easily see myself doing that at my current level of power intoxication. That sounds like me. Yes, siree.

Yes, maybe I'm a bit smilier. Maybe I've got a skosh more jaunt to my step. A moderate amount of power will do that to a man. But, I swear I know my limit.

Here, look---I'm touching my nose and walking a straight line. I'm not forcing an underling touch my nose for me. If I were doing that, I'd be that first person to admit that I might need to cut back on power.

Am I being mean to the mailroom guy? No. Am I demanding people avert their eyes in the elevator? No. Am I making the interns go get me coffee? Yes. Yes, I am doing that. Like I said, I’m slightly buzzed on power.

Excuse me one sec. I gotta answer my phone. Don't go anywhere.

Hello? Frank! Franky Frank, how you livin', you ol’ ziplock bag of crap? I'm just kidding. How’s Marie? What? No, you’re not interrupting anything important. Are we still on for racquetball Thursday? Sure sure. Ha! You’re goddamn right I am. Alright, I’ll see you then. Slap Marie on the ass for me. Ha ha, no, you’re gay.

Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah, maybe I might be a tiny bit drunk with power. Maybe a tiny lil’ bit. But, if I can admit that I'm drunk on power, can you please admit that your face looks like a rabbit? Can we admit that?

Admit it, or you're fired.


Insomnia Advice

Posted on July 27, 2011


My asshole brain kept me up until 3:30am last night. (Fuck you, my brain.) And, one of the things it was cycling through was---I swear to god---tips on preventing insomnia. I think I'm broken somehow.

So, I guess here are some tips on getting to sleep. You hear that, brain? You win. You win, you smug bastard.

- Try turning off your television by 8pm and finish your evening with quiet reading. Ugh, just writing that makes me feel sick to my stomach. I’m so sorry, TV. You know that deep down I love you more than sleep. You know that, right?

- Avoid caffeine after 5pm. Unless it’s in coffee ice cream form. Only monsters don't eat ice cream.

- Exercise at night to tire yourself out. Or maybe that’ll wake you up more. I wouldn’t know. I've never tried it, and I never will.

- Drink a glass of warm buttermilk right before bed. Buttermilk means milk with three fingers of rum in it, right?

- I know this is an old one, but try counting sheep jumping over a fence. Have you ever seen a sheep in real life to help you picture that? I haven’t in about fourteen years, so I just imagine fat Labradoodles.

- Keep a journal next to your bed to help you purge random thoughts. Of course, this might simply train you to keep thinking up random thoughts at night like SOME KIND OF HORRIBLE ASSHOLE! You hear that, brain? I'm calling you out, you asshole.

- Some people swear by masturbation. Never attempted it, myself. Seems icky.

- Try switching up your sleep outfit. I, for one, gave up pajamas and now sleep in Spanx and a white dinner jacket.

- Maybe come up with an internal mantra to calm you at night. Sub-tip: SHUT UP, BRAIN! THIS IS WHY NOBODY INVITES YOU TO PARTIES! is not an effective mantra.

- Money problems often keep people awake. Maybe think about going back in time and being born wealthy.

- Stop being such a little crybaby and walk it off. Rub some dirt on it, ya baby.

- Shut up. You’re the baby!

- No, you are! You shut up! YOU SHUT UP!

- Ooh, look who’s grumpy without his sleep. Are you gwumpy, you big baby?


- Wait, why are we even fighting? This isn’t between us. This is our brain’s fault. Hey, brain, you’re a real turd, y’know that, brain?

- Yeah, what he said. A turd.

- EVERYBODY, SHUT UP! This is your brain speaking. Nobody say another mean thing about me. I’ve been going through a lot lately, and yes, maybe I’ve been a little overactive at night. But, if you guys keep calling me an asshole or a turd or anything else butt-related, I’m going to get angry. And, if I get angry, I’ll retaliate by making you sexually attracted to gross, weirdo fetish stuff like squirrels or steampunk costumes. I’m talking full-on boner time whenever you see a squirrel. Am I understood?

- Yes.

- Yes, sir. Sorry.

- Alright, good. Now, I’m going to go back to obsessing over having misspoken to a pretty girl eight years ago. Please don’t bother me.

- We won’t. Sorry, sir.

- Stop sucking up to our brain, suck up.

- You stop sucking up!

- Owww, stop pinching me!


Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices

Posted on July 26, 2011

Thousand Voices

Thank you for booking Andy Ross, the Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices, for your next party or business conference. You have made the correct choice for your entertainment needs. Or, as we like to say, you’ve made the correct 1,000 slightly different choices.

This confirmation email will cover a few basics and expectations for your event with Andy. If you have any further questions after reading through this, please feel free to respond to this address.

First off, many people ask, “What kind of slightly different voices can we expect?” Excellent question. This is a very good question. Good job.

The answer is that you should expect the unexpected. Andy has spent decades as a dialogologist, carefully mastering slightly different voices from around the globe. For instance, during any given performance, Andy might do any or all of the following voices:

- Cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp with a head cold

- Cockney scamp with a stammer

- Drunk cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp who burnt his tongue on hot pizza

- Cockney scamp experiencing a minor stroke

- Cockney scamp who spent the summers of his youth with an uncle in Louisiana

- Cockney scamp doing a poor impression of a Canadian

- A Canadian doing a spot-on impression of a Cockney scamp

- Cockney flower girl

- Cockney flower woman

- Cockney scamp who got hit on the head and now thinks he’s Jack Nicholson, even though he’s never really seen a Jack Nicholson movie

- Overly-tired Cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp who took broadcast journalism classes to try to lose his accent

- Cockney scamp playing up his accent to impress an American tourist girl

- Cockney non-scamp

And, that’s just the first 15 of 1,000 unique, exciting, and slightly different voices you might hear from this master of mimicry.

Some of you might also ask, “Does the Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices actually use all 1,000 slightly different voices over the course of one show?” The answer is yes. Yes he does. However, the differences between the voices are incredibly subtle, and Andy may switch between as many as seven voices per sentence. Keep your ears and your minds open, or you might miss one.

“Does Andy ever repeat a slightly different voice?” others of you might be asking. Well, we don’t want to ruin it for you, so just picture us shrugging right now with an impish grin, as if we are saying, “Wouldn't you like to know?”

Still others of you might ask, “Does Andy ever do more than 1,000 slightly different voices?” No. Never. That's not what we do here.

“So, is this like a monologue or a conversation type thing? I mean, what? Is this guy just cycling through a bunch of voices, or is this part of some greater performance piece?”

Wow, that's a good question. We hadn't really thought about that one before. We guess he simply cycles through 1,000 slightly different voices. Just based on previous performances, it's mostly nonsense talk.

That said, please don’t try to engage Andy in conversation, or he might get thrown off and have to start over.

“What if, after the first 200 or so slightly different voices, we decide our party has had enough, and we don't want to hear the remaining 800 slightly different voices?”

Okay, well, you paid for 1,000 slightly different voices, so that’s what you’re getting. Once Andy starts a performance, he doesn't stop until it's over. Don't try talking over him or moving to another room, because that will hurt his feelings, and he’ll just dejectedly mumble the rest of the performance to himself. Possible in his car with the windows rolled up.

“Have we made a mistake in booking this guy for our event?” No no no no no no. This is going to be great. We’re not sure how this FAQ got so downbeat and judgmental. It's a great show. Super fun and silly. 1,000 slightly different voices---how cool is that?

So, yeah, this is going to be great. Your party or business event is in for a real treat. Don’t worry about it. Um… yeah, it’ll be great.

Again, if you have any questions, simply reply to this email address. Or call, I guess. Whatever works. We’re around.

1,000 (Slightly Different) Voice Productions, LLC


New OED Word Suggestion

Posted on July 18, 2011

Face Monster

Dear Oxford English Dictionary,

I noticed that you've recently released your second-quarter official list of new words added to the 2011 edition of your dictionary. These included understandable additions like "net neutrality" and "gender reassignment" along with some more questionable buzzwords like "ZOMG" and “urb.” That's fine. That's your prerogative.

One question, though: Did you happen to get any of my letters regarding the word I coined---Face Monsters? Is there still time to add another word?

Again---in case my letters happen to have gotten lost in the transatlantic mail or if none of my many emails made it through---a Face Monster is any person whose overwhelming wealth creates a permanently shitty look on his or her face. For some, this could be the long-term results of cosmetic surgery from the early 1980s. Or, it might be from tanning trips to the Mediterranean. For others, it's just their shitty, snide attitudes.

Examples can be found any weekday around lunchtime at the corner 72nd and Park Ave on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I can supply photographs upon request.

It's a pretty great word, though, right? I was super excited to have made it up. Or did I? Perhaps the zeitgeist simply decided that it was time for the word Face Monster, and it placed it down into my brain.  I don’t know how language evolves; I’m just happy to play my small role.

Certainly, Face Monster is better than ZOMG. I mean, not to tell you how to do your jobs, but ZOMG? Face Monster paints a picture with words. It’s clean. It’s clear. It differentiates effortlessly. Isn’t that what coining a new word is all about?

I know you guys get new word suggestions all the time, so you must be really busy. Also, I saw how people are really going after the Oxford Comma lately. I say hold fast on that one.

Is it too early to have Face Monsters considered for the 2012 edition of the OED? I'm just putting that out there. I mean whatever. It’s fine. No rush.

Also, this is less important, but what do you think of the word “bumpers” to replace love handles? I saw that you guys went with adding “muffin tops,” which is okay, I guess. But, isn't bumpers more pleasant? Who doesn't love bumpers?

Alright, thank you for your consideration. Good luck with the comma thingy.



Deja Vu

Posted on July 15, 2011

Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. It feels like all this has happened before. Remember last week, when I said I was experiencing deja vu? This feels exactly like that.

Remember? Last Tuesday, you were sitting over there, and I was right here, and I said, “Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. Everything feels like it’s all happened before.” Am I crazy, or does this feel exactly like that? Super weird.

Of course, last week I was referring to a feeling of deja vu from two weeks ago, when I had really strong deja vu at the library. You were with me then, too. Remember? I was in the library talking about deja vu and... Holy moly, this is weird. Do you think we’re stuck inside some kind of time loop? Like Groundhog’s Day?

Wow, intense. It seems like every time we get together, you start talking about planning your wedding, and then I mention feeling deja vu about having felt deja vu during our previous visit, when you were also talking about planning your wedding.

I mean, what are the odds that I would always experience the same, recurring deja vu about feeling deja vu? And, that it would always interrupt you blathering on about how stressful it is to plan a wedding? It’s not like we could be having the same exact conversation every time we’ve seen each other for the past seven months since you got engaged. That’d be too extreme of a coincidence. Right?

Wait, where are you going? Are you stomping away in a huff? Again? Weird. Deja vu.


The Storage Space

Posted on July 14, 2011


In honor of my storytelling show Real Characters starting back up (the next show is August 15th at McNally Jackson Books), I thought I'd share another true story with you all. Here goes:

When I got out of college, my first job was painting signs for a Trader Joe’s grocery in Chicago. Mostly, it was coming up with stupid puns to write on chalkboard displays, like one for masala sauce that read, “Curry Simmer Sauces: Put These India Belly. (They Shere Khan Fill You Up.)” So, yeah, I was killing it at Trader Joe’s.

Every once and again, I'd get to paint a mural. I painted sticks of butter riding the subway or an onion at the beach, an old-timey ocean diver spearing cans of tuna. It was cartoony stuff done quickly, and that speed must have caught the attention of a higher-up, because I got asked to help open a new store in Minneapolis. They were on a tight schedule and needed someone to paint banners for a few windows.

Trader Joe’s flew me up to Minnesota to take measurements and reference photos. It turns out it wasn't simply a few windows; it was forty-three giant windows of varying sizes. Each one was around four feet wide and hovered between three and six feet tall. The store had built freezers around the interior perimeter, so anyone looking in would see backs of machines instead of an inviting grocery. I had two short months before the grand opening to fix that.

I flew back to Chicago and bought rolls of pre-primed canvas, which I cut to size and numbered. A coworker’s wife was a seamstress, and I commissioned her to sew loops at the tops and bottoms for wooden dowels. [As an aside, those two were the most adorable young Baha’i couple. Most people who marry young, I’d worry about. But, these two seemed so happy and serene. Anyway…] While she was doing that, I had to look for a larger workspace, because as it was, I had been painting at a picnic table behind the wine cases in the storeroom. Art is glamorous.

Someone suggested the storage facility on the floors above our store. The entire city block was one huge former candy factory built in the 1920s. It had uneven floors and thick cement pillars every twenty feet, so above the first floor, storage was pretty much its only viable option.

I explained to the storage facility manager that I wanted to rent a space for painting. He said that’d be fine as long as I followed two rules: I couldn’t bring any combustible materials in there, like oil paints or turpentine, and I wasn’t allowed to have a hotplate. That second rule was steadfast. It was meant to keep mentally unbalanced squatters from living inside the storage units. The manager admitted to that having been a problem in the past.

Now, it was mostly storage for pharmaceutical saleswomen, whom the manager pointed out were always incredibly gorgeous. [Another aside: It’s true. They are.]

I ended up renting a ten foot by ten foot space on the fourth floor. It had corrugated aluminum walls and a large vinyl garage door. The ceiling of the space was made of chicken wire, which let in fluorescent light from the hallway. It wasn’t the best painting conditions, but I planned on mixing my paint downstairs and applying flat blocks of color, so it didn’t matter. I thought.

When the canvases came back, I stretched them on sheets of plywood using coat hooks and broomstick handles. [Pretty clever, I think. I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I do enjoy a good round of problem solving.] I was aiming to complete one per day. I’d close the storage locker door behind me, plug my iPod into tiny speakers, and apply multiple coats of paint to each banner. And, as I completed each one, I’d hang it from the chicken wire ceiling to dry.

Every twenty minutes on the dot, I’d have to pull open the door and wave my arm out into the hallway. The facilities were huge and filled with labyrinthine grids of hallways with their lights connected to motion detectors. No motion in the hallway for twenty minutes, and the lights went out. But, that was fine. I couldn’t lock the door from the inside, so I didn’t have to unlock it or anything. Other than that small inconvenience, things were moving along really well.

I was painting coffee beans the size of footballs. Bread, olive oil, flowers. It was all in nice, bright candy colors, and even though it was simple and lacked depth, I was proud of my progress.

After the first week, however, I realized that the room was closing in around me. Literally. As I hung one banner in front of another, I had less and less space to work. Soon, there was only a tight, three-foot aisle between banners. Also, less of the sporadic fluorescent light could make its way in from above.

I was working nine hours a day in poor light and cramped spaces with no one to talk to. I got depressed. Severely depressed.

Add to that a creeping suspicion that I wasn’t alone. I kept hearing noises, which I knew were just pretty pharmaceutical sales ladies stocking up on Viagra samples. But, a door slamming in the distance always caught me off guard and made me fear the worst.

I was feeling logy and bringing home an air of defeat at night. Something inside me decided that the best way to combat depression would be to work faster to give myself time for naps. I’d race through the mornings, and at noon I’d curl up on a pile of drop cloths in the corner. It seemed to work.

One day, as I was getting close to finishing the project, I woke up with a snort, which meant that I had been snoring. The lights in the hallway had gone out, so it was pitch black. Off to the side---I couldn’t tell how far away---I heard a voice. It was angry.

“I hear you,” it said. “I hear you, asshole. I can hear you breathing, you cuntface motherfucker! You cuntface motherfucker, you can’t be living in here! THIS IS MY HOUSE, YOU CUNT! GOD FUCKING FUCK, YOU CAN’T BE LIVING IN MY HOUSE, YOU FUCK!”

I couldn’t tell where this guy was in the building. I heard him banging on the storage unit doors, but all the sound filtered down at me from above. Plus, the hanging canvases muffled the voice as if I had blood pumping in my ears. Clearly, the manager had been wrong referring to crazy squatters in the past tense.


That seemed to be coming from the complete other side of the building. At this point I could hear the guy moving around in one of the hallways, closer than before. I curled up into a little ball, just on the inside of my unlocked door. Most likely, it was the only one on the entire floor without a heavy padlock. If anyone were looking for that, it’d be pretty obvious.

I held my breath and tried not to make a sound. All I knew is that I wanted it to stay dark. Because, if the hallway motion detector switched the lights back on, that’d mean whoever was looking for me was right outside my door…

That’s the end of that story. Whew, cliffhanger right? It is 100% true. In trying to remember the number the number of banners, I even looked up the Minneapolis Trader Joe’s on Google Street View. And, the banners are still hanging there! So, that’s nice.

If you want to learn how the story ended up, you’ll have to ask me in person at the next Real Characters on August 15th at 7pm. Was I found and murdered? Am I now a ghost who doesn’t even know he’s dead? Was it not a psychotic homeless man but rather the mythical Minotaur, itself? Or, most likely, none of those things? You’ll have to come to the show to find out.

See you there.



Posted on July 13, 2011

Alright, new guys, I'm running low on nicknames, so you're gonna have to take whatever's left. I'm sorry, but I've met a lot of people in my life, and I've given every single one of them a nickname. The choices are kinda slim at this point.

Speaking of slim---you are tall and slender. I've already used up Slim, Beanpole, and Skinny Steve. I guess I'll have to call you... Obelisk. Which is also something tall and thin. You're welcome.

You nickname will be StrongJaw.

Yours will be Mr. Magoo. No, wait; I have a Mr. Magoo. Your nickname will be Squints. No wait, Pinchface McSquints. That’s more appropriate.

You’ll be Gomer.

You will be Goober.

Your nickname will be The Old Goat. I like your white beard and your vigor in chewing gum, by the way.

You're going to be called Banana Hands.

Your nickname will be Turkey Bacon. Because you have hands the size of a bunch of bananas, and you smell like turkey bacon.

Your nickname is going to be... No Glasses Guy. Because you look like a guy I worked with named Glasses Guy, except without his glasses. Do you wear contacts? No? Good.

You'll be named Fat Steve. I already have a Skinny Steve, and need to balance that out. I hope you understand, Fat Steve.

You will be nicknamed Guy-Next-to-Fate-Steve.

You---wear this beret for a second. Alright, your nickname from now on is Pierre. Never take off that beret, or I might forget your name.

You will be Barnum.

You will be Blue Shirt.

Your nickname will be FaceDude.

You will be nicknamed Bowie, because you are David Bowie. It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Bowie. I'm a huge fan of your music.

You shall be Blue Shirt Number Two.

Alright, all the rest of you who haven’t gotten nicknames yet, wait here. I am going to go grab a thesaurus and some name tags. Bowie, you can go. I’m sure you’re very busy being David Bowie.

Be back in a sec. Hold down the fort, FaceDude.



Posted on July 12, 2011

I might not be the best babysitter, but that you would accuse me of losing your child simply because I can’t find your child at this very second---well, that hurts me.

First off, I just woke up, so I’m a little groggy. You can’t expect me to pull together every detail about an entire night of babysitting the moment you guys wake me up on your pool table.

Second, I feel like maybe I was set up to fail on this one. Because, your child is very small. It could be in this room with us right now, and we wouldn’t know. It could be under the couch, or it could be inside an over-sized vase, or it---

Pardon? Yes, I’ll stop calling your child “it.” She, alright? If labels are so important to you, she’s a she. She could fit into nearly any empty space in the house. The dishwasher for instance. Or the inside a piece of luggage.

Thirdly, why are you so worried about where your daughter is? Are you guys helicopter parents or something? Y’know, that kind of constant, hovering attention can really screw a kid up.

Fourthly, there are a ton of reasonable explanations as how I might not know where your daughter is at this precise moment:

Maybe we were playing hide-n-seek, and she cheated by crushing an Ambien into my scotch.

Maybe there was a tornado, and I told her to climb under the pool table for safety, and then I got up on top of the table to bat away any falling debris, and I got hit on the head in a heroic attempt to save your child’s life. And, now I have that type of amnesia that heroes have in movies.

Maybe an evil stepmother you didn’t invite to the christening came and put a sleeping spell on me and turned your daughter invisible. Did you ever think of that?

Any of those things could have happened. There’s literally no way we can know… AH HA! There she is! See? She’s poking out from inside the awesome fort we made! Now I remember that we made an awesome fort and pretended it was a castle, and she asked if she could sleep in there. I promised to keep watch for monsters from an elevated position, which is the pool table. Boom, that’s what happened.

See, I told you I’d remember once you gave me a minute to wake and for the scotch to wear off. So, who looks foolish now?

What do you mean, “That’s the neighbor’s kid.” That’s not your daughter? Well, that’s the kid I’ve been playing with all night. If that’s the neighbor’s kid, then where’s your daughter?


Ironic Marching Band

Posted on July 11, 2011

Marching Band


Wanted: Brass and percussion players for ironic marching band. Must appreciate choreographed movement, John Phillips Sousa, and an arch sense of superiority.

Details: I am forming an ironic marching band to perform at zombie/superhero pub crawls and during halftime at adult Red Rover tournaments. We will be playing contemporary "classics" like Livin' la Vida Loca and Mambo Number 5, as if we actually enjoyed that kind of "music." We will also march in real, local parades in a mock imitation of the kind of pseudo-fascist, patriotic brainwashing that goes into precision military-style formations.

Eventually, the line between irony and genuine love of marching will blur. We will get very serious about practicing and mastering our steps. The smiles on children's faces in the crowds will warm our hearts, and a gentle nod from an aged veteran will bring a collective lump to our throats. This will lead to a sense of pride in our work that chips away at any judgement and sarcasm.

Soon, our marching band will lose any irony at all and simply "be." At some point, I assume we'll be replaced by an "ironic" ironic marching band, but we won't care. We'll be too focused on our families and building a strong, proud community at that point.

Requirements: Must commit to two hours of practice twice a week, including synchronized steps and sneering eye rolls. Must purchase own marching uniform, including those lame chinstrap helmets which are so awesome. Must be willing to grow mustache and/or severe bangs.

Serious inquiries only.

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